Home Europe German tank specialist buys stake in Estonian unmanned vehicle developer

German tank specialist buys stake in Estonian unmanned vehicle developer

Illustration. Photo: KMW

German tank and armored vehicle specialist Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has bought a minority stake in the Estonian developer and manufacturer of military robotic land systems Milrem Robotics.

The strategic cooperation agreement provides for KMW to acquire stake of 24.9 percent in Milrem Robotics. The unmanned systems developer will continue operations as an independent company.

Both companies announced they will work closely together in development of a “European center of excellence for military robotics” in Estonia.

Milrem is currently leading a consortium composed of several major defense, communication and cybersecurity companies tasked with developing a standardized European iMUGS (Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System) that is financed by the European Commission and seven EU member states.

THeMIS (Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System) is a multi-role unmanned ground vehicle (UGV)
THeMIS photo: Milrem Robotics

The objective of the agreement with KMW is to combine the know-how and expertise of both companies to develop innovative solutions to meet the requirements of future military missions involving the interaction of manned and unmanned systems.

This will be particularly significant for KMW, who is working on the next-generation of main battle tanks for France and Germany, dubbed the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS). Although the new tank is still in the design phase, it is expected to comprise a system of systems, incorporating manned and unmanned platforms into a single operating mechanism.

“We intend to become the European centre of excellence for unmanned technology and robotics innovations. The partnership with KMW facilitates further innovations for future products and services, especially in the area of the teaming of manned and unmanned systems and sensor-to-shooter solutions,” emphasised Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.

“KMW as the European market leader for land systems and Milrem Robotics as the European market leader for unmanned land systems are an excellent fit. Our collaboration gives us the opportunity to work on innovative and new solutions that will impact the future of the defence industry. In addition, further synergies are also expected from this cooperation in the context of KNDS,” says Horst Rieder, CFO of KMW.

One of the most prominent systems developed by Milrem is the THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), which has so far been delivered to nine countries, seven of which are NATO members, including France, Norway, the UK, and US.